Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Beautiful Ironies

Irony: "An expression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning."

My goal in this post will be to illustrated how, much of the time, ironic truths are the most beautiful and joyful.  In support of this idea, Alma, Paul, and Christ Himself have declared that being temperate (balanced) in all things is a quality of a perfected individual.

To start out, the stories of Ammon and King Benjamin are powerful examples of fantastic leaders because of their humility, desire to serve and get right in, up close and personal, with those they serve.  They were such amazing leaders, given charge over so many people because of their understanding of the people they lead.

In the show Undercover Boss, the chief officers of companies like 7-Eleven, Great Wolf Lodge, DirecTV, Subway, the Chicago Cubs, Retro Fitness and ADT go undercover, disguised as someone else, to work with the "little guys" to see how things really work and what the real problems are with those who actually work first hand with the public.  I think this is also a great example of that concept.

*The only way to truly be an effective leader is to understand, on a first hand basis, those they lead by serving them.*

Another great irony is that those who are the most humble, who do not seek or desire power and authority no matter the reason are those who receive it the most.  The Savior taught this effectively in His sermon on the mount: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."  Why else would the the Father and the Son choose Joseph Smith, an everyday, ordinary farm boy with little to no formal education or social expertise, to restore Their church?  The same thing applies to Jesus' apostles, Moses, Enoch and so many others throughout secular and religious history.

When Moses was called, he replied with "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."  His awareness of his overwhelming weakness made him exactly the kind of person God would choose to lead others.  Enoch responded to his call to be a prophet with: "Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?"

These two, however, were two of the most powerful leaders, with the support of the Savior, in the history of the world; and it was because of their humility, meekness and their focus being completely on other good things when they were called.

Continuing on, I have personally come to see, in my own life, that the more I have my focus on simply doing good, being kind and seeking humbly to be a force for good in whoever's life I can has resulted in more attention and opportunities to do so.  As much as I have not done that, I have received less attention and been ignored more.  The point in my mentioning this is to illustrate the concept that those who don't seek for recognition and attention, but rather go about doing good completely selflessly, will actually get more recognition than they expect and will find more joy in such.  I had a concern for a while about my gifts, talents and individuality being diminished by not trying to, even tactfully, get attention.  Even if the reason I sought for attention was good, what I was not realizing was that, as Elder Maxwell said: "there is more individuality in those who are more holy."

Something that has, as well, become an increasingly more joyful and fascinating truth is that, while we are "less than the dust of the earth" as a result of our being the most disobedient of all of God's creations, He considers us His greatest creation.  We are the only of God's creations with the capacity to become like Him, through Jesus Christ.  We are His children.  We are of the race of God and, therefore, naturally have inherent in us limitless potential if we choose to take the course of action that will lead us to that possibility.  His love for us is greater, despite our nothingness, than anything else in the universe!  Feel free to take a second to let that sink in.

The most beautiful irony of all is that the Greatest of all of God's children willingly sunk to the lowest state that any man had or would ever go to, and now, because He overcame that state, He can make us equal with Him if we follow Him.  Christ is the perfect example of all of the previous ironies I mentioned.  He was the single most submissive, meek, virtuous, humble man of God's children who ever lived, entirely focused on simply serving selflessly, never asking for personal attention for His own sake, always redirecting praise He received to His Father.  Now look at what He has become because of that.

He is the Alpha and Omega, One with the Father, the One through whom our salvation is made possible, the King of Kings, Lord or Lords, the Master, the Servant and I can think of none of God's children who has more of His individuality and worth enhanced than our loving Redeemer, the Son of God, Jesus the Christ.

Beautiful ironies indeed. :)

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